RLB Blog

Life is About Relationships - February 11, 2020

A lot of how we form relationships is from learned behavior. Whether intentionally or not we are often influenced by the company we keep “bad company corrupts good character” (1 Corinthians 15:33).

Choosing your friends wisely isn’t only beneficial for us, it’s important for both members of the party. After all, time is currency and we get to choose how to spend it.

Having healthy role models in our lives is a measure to put in place to bring wise counsel “surely you need guidance to wage war, and victory is won through many advisers.” Proverbs 24:6.

I have the privilege of having a number of seasoned ministers in my life. They nearly always share a perspective with me that may have taken me years to learn on my own, wandering through the desert.

Spending time with people twice our age might not be possible for all of us though at that point it could be time to start investing in people half our age.

Recently my younger brother came to visit me in Long Beach and I had the honor of spending three weeks pouring into him. He chose to spend his time with me, bless him. “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another” Proverbs 27:17.

I had a glimpse of the responsibilities of fatherhood as my brother put his trust in me to care for and guide him through his first visit to what is the melting pot of the southern California culture.

We walked in so much favor during those three weeks getting to experience beautiful beaches, snowboarding, the chaos of LA and meal portion sizes at restaurants that could feed a family of four in the UK.

Spending every hour of everyday together surely deepened our relationship and although my brother isn’t currently walking with God he had a full flavor of the spiritual Disneyland that we are exposed to here.

The relationship I desire to cultivate above all is my connection with Jesus, without being in his presence everything else is worthless. “We love because he first loved us” 1 John 4:19.

The love I pursue in my relationships is only possible because he first loved me. As my elders pour into me I aim to be like a sponge, absorbing and retaining the love and wisdom they provide for me because one day I hope to have the responsibilities that they have and look to love others the way they love me.

- Ben Biscoe, RLB Intern

Radical Generosity - 12/12/19

Hey Refuge Long Beach Family!

This is Ben Biscoe, Refuge Long Beach Intern.

The “holiday” time of year is a time for family.

As we remember the birth of Jesus at this time, family conversations often lead to our own birth and upbringing. For some of us this brings great joy, and for others, great sorrow.

I was once sat across a table from an amazingly humble elderly German lady in a Christmas church gathering. We all shared around the table about what Christmas means to us. When it got around to her turn she broke down in tears.

It completely flipped the atmosphere on its head as everyone else who had gone before her had shared merry memories of family, and times of great cheer.

Having never married with no immediate family, and living in a foreign land, Christmas was a difficult time for her.

But…she did run a Children’s nursery, and her joy over the Christmas season was to live out of a place of RADICAL GENEROSITY!

I regarded her as one of the most generous people in the room, and it made me think of this verse in Acts:

"In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words of the Lord Jesus Himself, who said, 'It is more blessed to give than to receive." Acts 20:35.

Receiving at this time of year has almost become an expectation. In the majority of our cultures, we are surrounded by great luxuries. We always seem to be able to ‘grow’ a wish-list for presents, even though those things are not necessities and often won’t fulfill us after we’ve received them.

My prayer is for us to live from a place of radical generosity this Christmas. That we live for a God who is more than enough for us, and has already provided everything we will ever need.

Merry Christmas! 

Ben Biscoe, Refuge Long Beach Intern

The Christian and Baptism - 9/28/19

Hey there Refugees! Welcome to our brand-new Refuge Long Beach Blog.
 
Think of this blog as a conversation starter. We’ll have a variety of different writers and view-points along the way, but our anchor will always be Christ-centered.
 
Our prayer is to use this blog as another avenue of drawing us closer to the Lord while also challenging us as we navigate through this crazy world.  
 

Refuge Long Beach Baptism

 
It is my belief that all Christians ought to be baptized. The reason is simple. Jesus said in Matthew 16:24,
 
‘Whoever wants to be My disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow Me.’
 
If we take Jesus’ call to ‘Follow’ Him seriously, then we must look at what Jesus did, and then…follow Him. One of the first acts of Jesus’ ministry was His own baptism.
 
It was actually kind of a funny scene. When Jesus came to John the Baptist to be baptized, John didn’t want to do it. John said, “I need to be baptized by You (Jesus), and do You come to me?”
 
Jesus promptly put aside any doubt John may have had, and simply said, “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.”
   
   
It was during Jesus’ baptism the Holy Spirit descended upon Him, like a dove, and His Father in heaven declared, “This is My Son in Whom I love; with Him I am well pleased.”
 
Jesus’ baptism kicked off the beginning of His incredible ministry, which culminated with His death on the cross and resurrection.
  
So, why is it important for all Christians – those who belong to Jesus – to be baptized? Simple. Baptism is following Jesus. Baptism is a witness to the world that we belong to Jesus. Baptism is an act of identifying with Jesus.
  
I’ve met many young Christians who have been on the fence when it comes to baptism. Most of them feel they aren’t ‘clean’ enough – or sinless enough. They feel they have to wait until their lives reflect a ‘cleanness’ that is actually impossible to attain.
    
Others have stated they don’t need to be baptized to get to heaven, so why do it? Fair enough. Baptism is not a work unto salvation, so you don’t need to be baptized to get there…BUT, why wouldn’t you want to be more like Jesus? Why wouldn’t you want to follow Jesus in all things – baptism included?
  
If we go through life as a Christian and choose not to get baptized, then we miss out on a big part of what it means to follow Jesus. In fact – when it comes to following Jesus, baptism seems like a no-brainer. It is something He did so clearly (it is recorded in all four Gospels) and something we have the capacity to follow.
  
   
It comes down to our willingness to want to honor Jesus. When we surrender to Jesus and follow Him in baptism, we show the world He is our Lord and Savior. It is a great witness to those around us – family, friends, and even strangers on the beach!
   
So how about YOU? Are you on the fence about being baptized? Now is the time to pray and ask the Lord to give you clear direction, and then follow Him.
   
And…it just so happens, we have a Baptism Service coming up at Refuge Long Beach! Come out on Sunday, September 29, and you’ll have your chance. We’ll be meeting for regular service at church, and then, right afterwards, head out to Colorado Lagoon (a few blocks from church) for our Baptism and Picnic! If you haven’t been baptized, come on out and go for it! I guarantee you, you will NEVER regret it!
   
God bless you, Refuge Long Beach!
   
Pastor Robbie Boyd

Dare to Dream - 10/25/19

As Saul neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” “Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked. “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” He replied. “Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.” – Acts 9:3-6 (NIV)
  
Have you ever had a dream? Maybe you have a dream right now, and you are desperately trying to live out that dream.
  
God gave us the capacity to dream. It isn’t surprising when we begin to see our lives through the lens of a dream landscape.
 
 
Sometimes, however, God will intervene in our lives and change our dreams. Take for instance Saul – who, eventually, became the Apostle Paul.
  
Saul’s dream was simple. He wanted to remove – by jail or by death – every Christian on the face of the planet.
  
Some dream, huh! That was his dream and he tried to live it out…until, Jesus intervened.
  
Jesus stepped into Saul’s life just as Saul was on the brink of starting to fulfill his ‘dream.’ When Jesus came to Saul, He immediately changed Saul’s dream.
 
 
Saul went from persecuting Christians, to being a Christian himself, and eventually leading many others to Christ.
  
That is what Jesus does when He changes our dreams. He aligns our dreams with His will.
  
Not only does Jesus give us a new dream, but He also gives us the capacity to fulfill that new dream.
  
Jesus gave Saul the gift of preaching. Did you know Jesus has also given you a gift so you can live out your dreams for Him?
  
At Refuge Long Beach, we’ve been talking a lot about our dreams. As a church, we have big dreams.
  
There are so many people to reach in our community, so many needs to be met, so many who desperately need the love of Jesus.
  
Refuge is poised and ready to follow our dreams, and the Lord has gifted us to do so. It is an exciting time, but it takes more than just a dream and gifts.
  
Let me illustrate what it takes by telling a story that was related by Al Maxey:
  
"There is a brother in Christ in Nigeria who is badly deformed; his legs are withered. Unable to walk or afford transportation, he crawls to the worship assemblies! In order to bring his Bible, he either balances it on his head or pushes it on the ground in front of him! Here is a man who knows the value of commitment to the Lord. When the saints assemble, he is there!"
    
Commitment is Necessary!
 
Dreams and gifts do us no good unless we are committed to follow those dreams and use those gifts.
  
 
Will you be committed when God alters our dreams?
  
Will you be committed to use the gift God has given you through the Holy Spirit to accomplish those dreams in our community?
  
Will we stay committed, even in the face of adversity, as the Lord encourages us to stay the course?
  
This is our challenge, but I firmly believe with the Lord’s guidance, Refuge Long Beach is going to do amazing things in the name of Jesus! Stay tuned!
  
Pastor Robbie Boyd